BERLIN – The town will kick off the holiday season with a variety of special events next week.
On Friday, Nov. 24, Berlin will host its annual holiday tree lighting in front of the Atlantic Hotel. While the tree will be lit at 6 p.m., a variety of family friendly activities begin at 4:30 p.m.
According to Ivy Wells, the town’s economic development director, festivities for the evening include carriage rides, an ice carving demonstration sponsored by the Casino at Ocean Downs and music from the 25-piece Rehoboth Beach Orchestra. The orchestra, which begins playing at 4:30 p.m., will end its performance with a sing-along. Songbooks will be available so listeners can join the orchestra for classic holiday songs such as “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.” In addition, Berlin merchants will be open late hosting their own special festivities.
“It sounds like a very festive beginning to the holiday,” Mayor Gee Williams said as Wells outlined the activities during last Monday’s town council meeting.
Wells said the tree lighting would also mark the start of a new holiday event in Berlin. For the first time, the town will host a story walk. From Nov. 24 until Jan. 1, 18 of the downtown shops will display a page of a The Mitten, a children’s book, in their windows. Children are invited to walk through town, reading the pages as they go, and marking off the various book characters they see on a checklist. Once they’ve completed the checklist, they can drop it off at the town’s welcome center for a chance to win their own copy of The Mitten.
“It encourages children to read and exercise,” she said.
It will also serve as a fundraising campaign for the new Berlin library, currently under construction on Harrison Avenue, as participating shops will be accepting donations in support of the project.
While the tree lighting marks the start of the holiday season in Berlin, it’s not the only special event scheduled.
Merchants are encouraging shoppers to visit the very next day for Small Business Saturday, a campaign that encourages people to shop at their local businesses the day after Black Friday.
On Dec. 2, several of the artists in Berlin will offer holiday studio tours.
On Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., the town will host its popular Christmas parade. This year, attendees will notice that the parade route has been reversed. The parade will start at the welcome center and travel north through town. The judges stand will remain in front of the Atlantic Hotel. Wells said she arranged the new route to enable entrants to pass by the judging stand earlier in the parade.
“They get to the judges’ stand a lot quicker,” she said. “They can perform right off the bat and enjoy the rest of the parade.”
As they have been in the past, free carriage rides — sponsored by Berlin Main Street — will be offered Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24.
As for Santa, there will be two opportunities for children to visit him. Instead of stopping at the welcome center as in years past, Santa will visit two downtown shops.
“It encourages some of the businesses to get involved,” Wells said.
Santa will be at HOUSE by Salvaged Dec. 9 at noon and will visit World of Toys Dec. 16 at 10 a.m.
In addition, children are encouraged to drop off letters to Santa at the welcome center. Wells said Santa would reply to kids who dropped letters off at the “North Pole” mailbox at the welcome center with a coupon for a special treat at a Berlin business.